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‘Contentious’ US tech firm to harvest patient data in NHSE waiting list push

NHS England has ordered the collection of identifiable patient data from hospitals by US data firm Palantir, for a pilot scheme aimed at accelerating recovery of elective waiting lists.

The regulator has instructed NHS Digital, with which it will merge in January, to use Palantir’s Foundry platform to collect data about patients’ admission, inpatient, discharge and outpatient activity at acute hospitals.

Identifiable data such as patients’ NHS numbers, date of birth, and postcode will be collected through Palantir’s software. Patients cannot opt out of having their data collected.

But NHS Digital’s Caldicott Guardian – who is meant to safeguard use of data – has identified “risks” in the pilot and said it needs additional work before it can meet confidentiality requirements.

The data collected will be “anonymised in accordance with the ICO’s (Information Commissioner’s) Anonymisation Code of Practice”. However, privacy campaigners Medconfidential claimed this code is not fit for purpose and warned that NHS chiefs were making the same mistakes as previous failed efforts to use patient data appropriately.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 1 November 2022


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